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Strategic Focus

STRATEGIC FOCUS IN ARIZONA: LOCAL FOOD DEVELOPMENT

We conceptualize local food development as a structural strategy for a collective effort to promote food access, food security, food equity, improved human health within a sustainable paradigm. A focus is to mitigate the economic inequities in the food system that impact the health and wellbeing of all Arizonians. In addition, there is the job creation and wealth building capabilities of local food development when used as a tool for community economic growth.

Transitioning from a global food system to a local food system that is renewable, resilient, equitable, diverse, healthy, and interconnected within the current context of climate change and food insecurity, reflects an urgent need for a multi-faceted, holistic approach within the context of healthy and well-functioning food and agricultural systems that are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable, nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy, while optimizing natural and human resources.

Innovative inputs for creative design of the operationalization of the concept are:

  • cooperative business model

  • controlled environment technology

  • community capital

 

That will result in enhanced food security as well as improved nutritional, better tasting, more diverse food with a more sustainable model than the current global food system and traditional open field farming  dominant in many communities in the state.

A proposed pilot project will enable a broader and deeper understanding of the ramifications of the work base and infrastructural requirements that are essential to the establishment of a meaningful contribution of family based controlled environment local food development industry to the health and wellbeing of Arizonians. However, it will require a partnership of public and private institutions and organizations to achieve the scale and scope of what can be meaningfully considered a controlled environment local food system owned and controlled by the people who live and work in the community.

Paramount to achieving a sustainable, equitable, and secure food future is the need for policies which promote health and environmental sustainability across sectors and in multiple contexts. The advocacy effort that must accompany this initiative must provide recommendations which change not just what people eat but the systems through which food is produced and distributed. The success of this effort can set in motion a new trend. The ripple effects would be tremendous, improving the health of future generations due both to better diets and to reduced pollution and healthier ecosystems.